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Sunday, September 12, 2010
Deep thoughts from Moss

By Chris Forsberg

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss arrived at the podium following New England's 38-24 triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday stressing that he was "not here to talk" or "cause trouble," but then rambled for nearly 16 minutes doing the exact opposite while trying to explain comments from earlier this week where he said he felt unwanted in New England.

Moss, who didn't speak to the assembled media during the preseason and often limits his postgame interviews to a small number of questions, launched right into his agenda shortly after arriving at the podium.

"Before I get to questions, I'd like to say something. I've been here for three years," said Moss. "This is my fourth season. I understand the business and the nature [of it], and I understand you all have a job to do. When it comes to football, I take my job seriously, I said it time and time again, but I think there’s -- I really don’t want to say the organization -- but around New England and the New England area, there's a lot of people who don’t want to see me do good," said Moss. "The reason why, I don’t know, and I really don’t care. I just want to let [reporters] know that -- y’all the ones doing all the writing, putting all the pen and pad to ink -- anything that I may say, will get blown out of proportion.

"I think earlier in the week, I don’t know where you're at, but I got asked a question about being here and being unhappy. Me being unhappy doesn't have anything to do with me toning my game down. I’m here and I understand my role, my role is to take the ball deep and take the top off the defense. Earlier in the week, a lot of people were coming at me wrong about me being unhappy. It’s like, if you work for somebody, everybody in here, you work for somebody, unless you're independent, if your boss comes to you, sometimes you want your boss to say you're doing a good job. That’s every man and woman in here. You work for somebody, you want your boss to be able to come through and say he read your column last night or this morning, and he liked the column. That’s just the way with football. If you do a good job, and you think you do a good job, you want to be appreciated. I don’t think me, personally, I'm appreciated.

"I don’t want to take anything out of context, because I am a man and this is a job, but I take my job very seriously, to heart. I want to let you all know, let the fans, the real fans of New England, know that I’m not here to cause any trouble, I'm here to play the last year out on my contract. I said time and time again before I signed my first contract here, I want to be in New England; it's a well-coached group here. I never said I wanted to leave New England, there's a lot of things that are being written or being said that have people looking at me in a negative light. I don’t want to be in a negative light. I want everybody to understand -- you can print it, I don’t care how you put it to ink -- I want to be here with the Patriots. I love being here. I just think that, from a business standpoint, this will be my last year with the Patriots and I’m not retiring; I'm still going to play some football. I just want to get that off my chest, understand that this is a business."

Moss tried to stress that he didn't want to take away anything from his team's season-opening victory, but as Wes Welker waited patiently for his turn at the podium, this after scoring two touchdowns just nine months removed from a torn ACL, Moss clearly took the spotlight away from the team and shined it onto his contract situation.

"I can say, honestly, I don't really talk much," said Moss. "I don’t want to take away from the win, but before the season gets started -- I don’t want to be in Week 10, Week 11, or Week 12, talking about a contract. Basically, what I want to let you all know is that I know this is the last year of my contract. I‘m here to play it out, and I want to play some damn good football. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. But if I wait until Week 12, Week 13, that's not going to be good for me. I have two or three guys on me sometimes. I don’t want to wait until Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, then I have a bad game and now the table turns on me like, 'Oh he doesn't want to be here’ … That's what I don’t want to happen. I'm not disrespecting the organization, I'm not disrespecting my teammates for the victory we had today against the Cincinnati Bengals. This is my first time talking this year and I want to get it out there. It's not being disgruntled or disrespectful, this is just my first time talking."

Moss clearly wanted to plant seeds about his desire for a contract extension, but picked a curious time to go off. Asked if a contract extension would make him feel appreciated, Moss went into spin control.

"Look, I don't want to talk about contracts. I just want to let y’all know, I'm here to play my last year out. If the opportunity later on in the season presents itself for me to be a New England Patriot, I would accept that. If it doesn’t, I must move on. That’s basically what I'm telling you."

But Moss made sure to note that he wasn't going to wait for the offseason to get a new deal from New England.

"This offseason? I don’t really want to get to that," said Moss, noting he's 33 years old and felt he proved himself already. "For me to be offered a contract after the season is over, I think that would be a smack in my face. So I don't even really want to get into that."

Moss was appreciative of quarterback Tom Brady coming out in support of him earlier this week, but acknowledged that his words could get him dragged into coach Bill Belichick's office on Monday.

"Bill might call me in his office tomorrow, but, then again, y’all know this is my first time talking this season, I'm not going to be up here every week," said Moss. "You're not going to find me in the locker room; you'll find me, but I'm not here to talk, I'm here to play. Definitely, helpful having Tom on my defense, saying he wants me here, I love playing here, and I don't want to leave here, I don’t. But the business aspect, I gotta do what’s best for me and my family.

"Look, If I do [get called into Belichick's office], I might just have to explain to Bill how I feel. It's going to be analyzed anyway, about me talking about my contract. This is my job, this is a business. If you understand the business, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. If you don’t understand the business, this is not football; football leaves you in college and high school. This is a job. When you understand the nature of this job, you understand where I'm coming from. That's all I'm saying. I'm old. I'm old. I'm not ready to leave the league yet. But I still have my family to provide for. All I’m saying is if I’m wanted here, I want to be here. If I’m not going to be here, then that’s it. That’s all I’m saying."

Asked to characterize his relationship with Patriots owner Bob Kraft, Moss called it "fair."

"Mr. Kraft is a busy man," said Moss. "He’s not really seen around here during the week. On the weekend? Oh yeah, he's here. We have a relationship. Is it where I want it to be, or where he wants it to be? I don’t know. I don’t really know how busy his schedule is, but as an owner, we have a fair relationship."

For good measure, Moss also sounded off on the New York Jets and cornerback Darrelle Revis, New England's Week 2 opponent.

"There was a lot of talk last year -- and I'm not taking anything from him, he did some good things to be the shutdown corner that he is -- I'm not here to say that I prided my offseason on Revis," said Moss. "But like I said, I take pride in what I do. What he did last year, was something that, he opened my eyes up as a wide receiver. That there's a cornerback out here where I have to be on my ‘A’ game. I prided my offseason on staying off Revis Island."

The complete Q&A, as transcribed by the Patriots' media relations staff, appears after the jump.

Randy Moss: Before I get to questions, I’d like to say something. I’ve been here for three years. This is my fourth season. I understand the business and the nature and I understand that you all have a job to do. When it comes to football, I take my job seriously, I say [that] time and time again. But I think there is, I don’t really want to say here in the organization, but I think around here in the New England area, a lot of people don’t want to see me do good. And the reason why, I don’t know. I really don’t care. But I just want to let you all know, you all [are] the ones that are doing all the writing, all the pen, the pad and ink. I don’t have any. So, anything that I may say will get blown out of proportion. Earlier in the week, I got asked a question about me being here and me being unhappy. And me being unhappy doesn’t have anything to do with me toning my game down. I’m here, and I understand my role. My role is to take the ball deep and take the top off the defense. I think earlier in the week, a lot of people were coming at me wrong about me being unhappy. That’s like, for instance, if you worked for somebody, everybody in here you work for somebody, unless you are independent, and if you’re boss comes to you, sometimes you want your boss to tell you you’re doing a good job. That’s every man or woman who works for somebody. You want your boss to come through and be able to say he read your column last night or this morning. He liked your column. And that’s just the way [it is] with football. If you do a good job and think that you’re doing a good job, you want to be appreciated. I really don’t think that, me personally, that I’m appreciated. I don’t want you all to take anything out of context that I’m saying because I am a man and this is a job. I take my job very seriously, to heart. I want to let you all now and I want to let the fans, the real fans of the New England Patriots know, I’m not here to start any trouble. I’m here to play my last year out of my contract. And I’ve said time and time again, before I signed my first contract here, I want to be here in New England. There’s a great group of guys here. Well coached group here. And I never said that I wanted to leave New England. But I think that a lot of things that have been written or been said are looking at me in a negative light. And I don’t want it to be in a negative light. I just want everybody to understand, you can print it. I don’t care how you put it on your ink, I want to be here as a Patriot. I love being here. But I just think from a business standpoint, this probably will be my last year here as a Patriot. And I’m not retiring. I’m still going to play some football. I just want to get that off my chest and let you all understand that this is a business. Now I’ll open it up for questions.

Q: Why do you think that people don’t want to see you succeed?

RM: I’ve got a long history. My history has nothing to do with anything too, too bad. Everybody has a certain mystique about them. I guess that people just don’t like the way that I carry myself. If that’s what it is, then that’s what it is.

Q: What people are you talking about?

RM: I don’t know. I read. You might not be one. You could be one. But I’m not pointing fingers at any man or woman. I’m just telling you straight up. We’re football players. Everybody’s not going to write in their column today everything’s going to be positive. There’s going to be some negatives. I’m just thinking that the journey that I’ve taken to get to where I’m at, 13 years, I don’t really feel that I’m very liked. And I’m not saying from you all. I don’t really give a damn if you like me to be honest with you.

Q: Do you mean the fans?

RM: Listen here, what I’m trying to say is, I get a lot of negative publicity on any word that I say. For instance, the word that I used this week was ‘unhappy.’ And I don’t know who took it, but word got back to me that that started a domino [effect] about me being unhappy. But then I just told you all about you working for somebody and you having a boss, you would like to feel appreciated. I’m not saying that I’m not appreciated here. But I would like to feel that sometimes. This is the last year of my contract. Nothing has been discussed. There’s not been anything said. Not a letter. Nothing. I’m not saying that I want to stay here, but I love playing here. If the future of my job let’s me go to another team, then that’s what it’s going to be. But for right now, I’m still in a contract for the New England Patriots, and I have a job to do. So I’m going to play my year out and do the best of my ability.

Q: Do you understand how bad this looks after a 38-24 win to stand up here and talk about the contract?

RM: I can honestly say this, ‘I don’t really talk much.’ And I don’t want to take away from the win. But I think that before this season gets started, I don’t want it to be week 10, week 11, week 12, and we’re sitting here talking about a contract. What I want to let you all know is, I know this is the last year of my contract and I’m here to play it out. And I want to play some damn good football. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. I don’t want to wait until week 12 or 13. Every week is not going to be good for me. I have two and three guys on me sometimes. I don’t wait until week 9, 10 or 11 that I have a bad game, and now the tables turn on me. ‘Oh he doesn’t want to be here.’ That’s what I don’t want to happen. I’m not disrespecting the organization. I’m not disrespecting my teammates for the victory that we had today against the Cincinnati Bengals. But I think that this is my first time talking this year, and I want to get it out there. I’m definitely not being disgruntled or disrespectful. Like I said, this is my first time talking.

Q: But it’s going to get spun that way.

RM: Somebody’s going to spin it. Anything that I say is going to get spun around. I’m not trying to take away from the victory that we had today. It’s been a long offseason for us. Bill [Belichick] put us through a lot of hard work. From a physical standpoint, I’m paying for it. The victory today that we had against the Cincinnati Bengals was definitely well deserved because we prepared for it. By me ramping off for me as an individual, like I said, I don’t want to take away from what we did. I just want to get it off my chest because this is my first time talking this year. You’re not going to hear much from me this year. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. So I’m getting it out of the way now.

Q: So if the organization comes to you and offers you a contract extension, would you sign it?

RM: I don’t want to talk about contracts. I just want to let you all know that I’m here to play my last season out. If an opportunity later on in the season presents itself for me to be a New England Patriot, I will accept that. But if it doesn’t, I must move on. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. Like I say, week 9, 10 or 11 down the road, I don’t want things to fall back on my lap. This is week one, so I’m trying to get it out there right now. Everybody can print it however you copy it.

Q: What if that opportunity presents itself this offseason?

RM: This offseason? I don’t really want to get to that. I’m 33 years old. I think that when you’re brought into this league earlier, you’re played off what you’re capable of doing. I’ve already showed that I can play still at a high level at age 33. For me to be offered a contract after this season is over, I think that would be a smack in my face. So I don’t even really want to get into that.

Q: So do you think it’s time to go somewhere else?

RM: Regardless of what I’m sitting here saying, you all are going to write what you want to write. All I’m saying is I’m not here to start any trouble. I’m going to play my year out to the best of my ability and try to play some damn good football. That’s what I trained myself to do this offseason to play some damn good football and help this team win. And that’s what I want to do.

Q: What did you mean that this offseason Bill Belichick put you through a lot and you’re paying for it physically?

RM: He never let up. We started out from OTAs. You local writers know that [in the past] Bill has given me maybe a day here or there off. I haven’t [had] any. From a physical standpoint, I’m kind of feeling [it]. It’s nothing bad, it’s just old age, I guess.

Q: What part of your old age body is feeling it?

RM: Probably legs. Low back, legs. That’s nothing that a massage and a cold tub won’t cure. I’m not young. I’m old. For us to go out and play on this grass and pound on this turf, doesn’t really feel good. I’m happy to be in this position. I’m very blessed, as I say time and time again. I just want to make the best of this. I don’t want this to be a negative. I want this to be a positive. Win or lose, I still want to come out and play some good football.

Q: Tom Brady has gone out of his way to say that he wants you and he appreciates you. How much does that mean?

RM: It means a lot coming from Tom. He’s the face and the leader of this team. We do a lot of talking daily. Tom knows how I feel about this being my last year. Bill might call me into his office tomorrow, but then again, you all know that this is my first time talking this season. I’m not going to be up here talking every week. And you’re not going to find me in the locker room. Well you’re going to find me, but you’re not going to get me to talk because I’m not here to talk. I’m here to play. It’s definitely very, very helpful for Tom to come to my defense saying that he wants me here because I love playing here. I don’t want to leave here. I don’t. But the business aspect of it, I’ve got to look out for me and my family. So that’s where I’m coming from.

Q: Do you feel like you were misunderstood after the team charity event when you had headphones on?

RM: I really don’t want to get into it. That’s more in-house. So we just take it. Whoever wrote what they wanted to write, and my music was playing whatever I wanted to listen to.
Q: From our perspective, it looks like you just came off your best camp in New England. Would you agree with that?

RM: Since I’ve been here, yes. And that’s why I’m very excited about this season. The Cincinnati Bengals are a good football team. They won their division. They’re a playoff team. So for us to be able to come out and play some good football, we can hang our hats on today. But we have a great task next week with the Jets. Hopefully, Baltimore will beat them up pretty good. Or beat each other up Monday. So we can get a good game on Sunday. I’ve definitely been up and down just because I don’t know what to except. The only thing I can do is take care of me. And that’s to go out here and prepare each day, work hard, and do whatever I can to help this team win.

Q: Are you excited to see Darrelle Revis next week?

RM: Am I excited to see Revis? I think I am because there was a lot of talk last year. And I’m not taking anything from him. He did do some good things last year to be the shutdown corner that he is. And I’m not scared to say this—I prided my offseason on Revis. Like I said, I take pride in what I do, but what he did last year was something that even opened my eyes up as a wide receiver; that there’s a cornerback out here that I really have to be on my A game. So I prided my offseason on staying off of Revis Island.

Q: If you would talk more frequently, do you think you could resolve some of the issues and misconceptions about what people write about you?

RM: If I honestly cared about what you all write, I think I would be up here talking to you every day, every single day. I probably [would] have a couple of [your] phone numbers in my phone and vice versa. But I really don’t care.

Q: You seem upset.

RM: I’m not upset. No, I’m not upset. This is my 13th year. This isn’t my 2nd or 3rd year. You know what I’m saying. My 13th year in the league, anything that I might say might most of the time get blown out of context or get blown out of proportion. By the word that I used, me being ‘unhappy,’ it’s not that I’m mad or trying to be disgruntled. I’m hurt. You give me a word.

Q: You said not being wanted.

RM: That’s a good way to put it. I don’t want anything negative to come out of this like it usually does. You know what I’m talking about. I don’t really care about a lot of the extracurricular stuff that you write. I know me. I know what I’m here for. I’m definitely excited about this season. I don’t want people to take away from that. So that’s why I said I wanted to get it out week one and not wait to week 11, 12 or 13 down the road to get it out.

Q: Do you expect to get called into Bill Belichick’s office tomorrow?

RM: If I do, then I’m just going to have to explain to Bill how I feel. Put it like this: it’s already going to be headlines anyway about me talking about my contract. Then again, I really don’t care. It’s a job. This is a business. If you understand the business, then you’ll understand where I’m coming from. But if you don’t understand the business, this is not football. Football leaves you in college and high school. This is a job. If you understand the nature of this job, then you understand where I’m coming from. That’s all I’m saying. I’m old. I’m not ready to leave the league yet, but I still have a family to provide for. All I’m saying is, if I’m wanted here, I want to be here. If I’m not going to be here, then that’s it. It’s as simple as that. That’s all I’m saying.

Q: Do you have a good relationship with Robert Kraft?

RM: It’s fair. Mr. Kraft is a busy man, and he’s not seen around here a lot during the week. But on the weekends, he’s here. We have a relationship. Is it where I want to be or where he wants it to be? I don’t know. I really don’t know how busy his schedule is, but as a owner, we have a fair relationship.